Learn to live with uncertainty. This is by far one of the hardest concepts to master, and I am nowhere near mastering it. However, through repeated failures, I’m becoming more comfortable with living with uncertainty because the idea of constantly worrying about the uncertainties of life is too exhausting to even consider. The only guarantee in life is that nothing is certain. The sooner you accept this, the easier life gets.
The Fear of Failure is one of the most common restraints that holds people back from pursuing great ideas. Imagine if we could become totally free from the fear of failure. Imagine what we could then manifest and create. In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who can share stories and insights from their experience about “Becoming Free From the Fear of Failure.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jesse Randall.
Jesse Randall is a writer, filmmaker, & producer that focuses on creating LGBTQIA+ content through his production company, JR Vision Films. His digital series, The Safety Plan, is now streaming on REVRY TV along with his short film collection. His most recent film, Shadow Self, will be available on streaming platforms soon and his next film, Spare Change, enters the film festival circuit next year.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
I was born and raised in Statesville, North Carolina. It’s not an easy place to grow up when you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, or at least when I was growing up. I hope it’s changed since then. I moved to New York to pursue filmmaking without any resources, contacts, or money. I had to figure out how to survive on my own. In New York, I developed a few short films that got recognition at Film Festivals. I knew I’d eventually have to move to Los Angeles if I wanted to make it as a filmmaker. Once I relocated to Los Angeles, I developed my first digital series, The Safety Plan, now streaming on Revry TV along with my short film collection. I’ve developed a few other projects since then that will be available to the public soon, but I’m currently working on getting my first feature film made!
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
After my digital series, The Safety Plan, screened in film festivals, it seemed like it was going to meet a dead end. Being at a film festival isn’t enough to make a film succeed. You need a distribution deal, or someone with resources to help you reach a wider audience. I worked on this project for almost three years. It debuted in the middle of the pandemic of summer 2020. It could not have been a worse time for film festivals. I understood that the world had bigger issues to deal with than my silly little project, but it was still painful. I didn’t understand what it meant for my life at the time. Should I continue pursuing filmmaking? Have I wasted my life pursing filmmaking? I was in a state of existential crisis that I had never been before. I eventually got to a place where I decided that even if I wasn’t going to “make it” as a filmmaker producing content for major studios, I would still find a way to work in the film industry, because that’s where I’m my best self. Two days later, after I mentally made that decision, Revy TV contacted me about licensing not only The Safety Plan, but my entire catalog of short films as well. It was one of the most validating moments of my entire life. Everything came full circle.
I think what I discovered from this experience is best expressed by Claire-Louise Bennett in her book Pond: “Quite often I’m terribly disappointed by how things turn out, but that’s usually my own fault for the simple reason that I’m too quick to conclude that things have turned out as fully as it possible for them to turn … when in fact, quite often, they are still on the turn and have some way to go until they have turned out completely.”
Ultimately, I think when you truly want things for the right reasons and you surrender to the process, you find yourself where you need to be. When you get frustrated that things don’t look exactly like you planned, you create chaos for yourself, which could have a negative impact on your goals and your life.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Authenticity — One of my favorite quotes is, “Great art is about getting closer to the truth.” Only pursue what feels right for you and aligns with your principles. If you’re following someone else’s dream or vision, you’ll wind up on the wrong path. There was a period in my career where I tried pursuing projects I thought would “sell”, and I wound up being further away from my goals as a filmmaker, even while producing work that was featured in festivals. It’s a terrible feeling to have to stand by something you’ve created that you secretly hate. Even when projects that are authentic to your voice don’t go as far as you’d hoped, I can assure you it will eventually pay off sooner or later.
Honesty — This is the main ingredient to being an authentic artist and person. In addition to being honest with yourself about who you are and what your goals are, it’s also imperative to be true to your word when it comes to dealing with others. If you develop a reputation for being dishonest or unreliable, life is going to be even more difficult for you than it already is. You can’t develop healthy personal and working relationships if you’re dishonest, not to mention maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself.
Discipline — Everyone must choose one of two paths: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Even when your goals don’t always work out, the discipline you’ve put in never goes to waste. The skills you develop through discipline will be useful eventually. One of my favorite quotes from the late Stephen Sondheim is, “Having vision is no solution. It all depends on the execution.” You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don’t have the discipline to execute it properly, it won’t matter.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the concept of becoming free from failure. Let’s zoom in a bit. From your experience, why exactly are people so afraid of failure? Why is failure so frightening to us?
I think failure for most people, including myself at times, is often perceived as the end of the road. Failure seems so finite when you’re experiencing it. In the eye of the storm, it’s hard to get past your emotions to see the bigger picture. Also, life is short. Getting any project off the ground requires so much time and energy. When you invest yourself in something that doesn’t take off, it seems like a waste. Nobody gets a refund for the hours that have passed by. I think at the central core of all fears is the ultimate fear that we’ve wasted our lives.
What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?
I think when you’re paralyzed by fear of failure, it prevents progress from taking place. When I was younger, I was surrounded by people who were paralyzed by failure to the point of letting their lives fall apart. I grew up in a very conservative small rural town where, when I was growing up at least, dreams go to die. I remember my family telling me, “There’s nothing out there. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s all the same everywhere you go.” It should be noted that most of my family had never left the state of North Carolina. I was fortunate to hear the advice from accomplished people I admired that, in the end, it isn’t the most talented people that make it but those with the most perseverance. I can honestly say, I was never the most talented person in the room, but I continued to show up. Though my work, especially my early films, isn’t perfect, I gave it my best effort and it paid off. A film is never truly finished; there just comes a point where you stop working on it. Had I waited forever for my work to be “perfect” before I released it, I would never have gotten anywhere.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?
First, I would like to say that I have not mastered the art of being free of failure. I don’t think any of us ever will. I think your ambition has to outweigh your fear of failure, and that’s the best it gets. There’s a line in an Igmar Bergman film called Through a Glass Darkly that best encompasses my relationship with fear of failure: “I was empty. No fear, no regrets, no expectations.” I’ve reached a place in my life where I’ve experienced so much failure that I’m become numb to it. That sounds bleak, but it’s actually a major advantage. Because I’m increasingly comfortably numb with my fear of failure, I’m willing to try new things because what have I got to lose? My recovery time with overcoming the failures I experience is getting faster because of it. I used to torture myself for years about various failures. Now that I’m older and more experienced, I limit the energy I’m willing to spend on grieving my failures. Still, it’s important to let yourself grieve. Forced toxic positivity is the least healthy way to recover from failure. I’d say for every success I’ve had, there were at least ten failures that paved the way for it. My entire life has been more “failures” than successes. But had I not experienced these failures, I wouldn’t have experienced the victories.
I’ve learned through studying and actively practicing writing for over a decade that your ideas that don’t get used often get recycled into something even better down the road. And even if it doesn’t, you couldn’t have accomplished your achievements without figuring out what doesn’t work first. It’s well known with writing that you must create a lot of terrible work until you finally start cranking out good material. I find that to be true with almost everything in life. You can’t get to the good stuff without going through the crap first.
We would love to hear your story about your experience dealing with failure. Would you be able to share a story about that with us?
One story in particular takes the cake as my absolute worst experience with failure in my ten years of filmmaking. A couple of years ago, I reached out to someone I previously crossed paths with professionally to develop a new project together. We didn’t know each other personally, but I admired their work. They seemed enthusiastic about the possibility, but my only condition was that the project had to be LGBTQIA+ focused because my entire career has been dedicated to that cause. They weren’t queer identifying, at the time at least, and still don’t, as far as I know. We also agreed to split the cost of production 50/50. This certain individual was upfront about being relatively new to creating content at the level this project required. That wasn’t a problem for me. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I valued their ideas. The writing process was great. It was extremely collaborative, and we were both very receptive to each other’s ideas. Pre-production went well too. We felt like a team. The few disagreements that came up, we worked through. Shooting the project was a nightmare, not because of my partner but the various obstacles around us. There were quite a few bad omens that, in retrospect, were signs of larger issues that I would eventually encounter.
Postproduction started to reveal the cracks in our partnership. After filming, I got stuck with extra bills that we had talked about splitting the entire time we were preparing for this shoot. “I thought you said you’d pay for all the labor”, my co-partner claimed. I never agreed to that, and I have emails to prove it (in addition to countless emails, text messages, and extensive documents to prove the rest of my story is true as well). They took on some of the extra costs I was saddled with, but they got refunded for returning all the props and costumes that were paid for from their half of the production budget. The refund amounted to two-thirds of their investment, according to the final budget sheet in our records. However, they never offered to help even out the total bill for the project to make it an even split like we originally discussed. I thought this was sketchy, but I also didn’t get this agreement in writing other than the emails. This was not a smart decision on my part that I’m deeply ashamed of. I figured we were comfortable enough with each other that it wouldn’t be an issue. I was wrong. I felt like it was maybe unfair to ask to even out the bill based on the refund since I didn’t get it in writing, and it was my co-partner’s first project of this caliber. Still, I thought it was odd that we had discussed splitting the total bill for this project evenly for six months during pre-production, and they never offered to correct it, despite mentioning their refund. I decided to let it go. I edited this project and oversaw post-production on my own for an entire year. Since this was a self-produced project, I wasn’t paid for any of it. This project was an investment that would pay off later, or so I thought at the time. My co-partner on this project didn’t have experience in post-production and I didn’t have time to teach them. I was busy working fulltime, going to school full time to finish my degree, and doing post-production on another film I shot simultaneously with this project. We were also trying to finish as quickly as possible to meet the early deadlines for film festival submissions. Besides, they didn’t show any interest in helping anyway. They made it clear they didn’t like editing from the few smaller projects they had worked on.
What became frustrating throughout post-production was the few tasks I assigned to my co-partner, they either completely neglected, or I had to continuously ask them to redo them because they rushed through it. Their excuse was always, “Sorry, I’m in a hurry! I’m busy! I can’t wait for this project to be over!” I was extremely busy too, and ready for this project to be over as well, but I still delivered on everything I promised without anyone begging me to do it. The tasks I asked them to do didn’t even amount to a month of work. I can’t remember a single instance of my co-partner acknowledging the massive amount of extra work I did during the year of post-production, and they still claim they made an equal contribution. My partner also created unnecessary issues as well, like trying to get their lover a producer credit, even though the lover didn’t do any work on the film other than fixing a three-second shot in post-production. My co-partner’s justification was their lover would pay the submissions fees for the film festivals we were applying to that didn’t even amount to $200, and we planned to split anyway. I spent thousands on this project on my half alone. They had a volatile break-up months later. I’m so glad I put my foot down about their lover not getting a producer because that would have been a major issue after they broke up. This incident made me aware of how financially dependent my co-partner was on the people in their life to pay their half of the film budget on this project. I wasn’t aware of that at the start of this project, or I wouldn’t have gone into business with this person to begin with. People who depend on others for fiscal sponsorship are a giant red flag for me. I used grants and scholarships I was awarded through my university to pay for my half of the budget. Additionally, while I grew up poor and have financially struggled quite often as an independent artist throughout my life, I’ve never relied on family, friends, lovers, or anyone else to financially support me. That’s never been an option, and I’ve always made it a point to find a way to take care of myself because that’s a dangerous road I’m not interested in traveling. At the start of this project, I asked my co-partner if they were able to pay half of the proposed budget. “Not a problem at all, dear. Already taken care of,” was their response and I never asked again. I felt like it wasn’t any of my business to ask where they were getting the money from, and it would be inappropriate to do so. This is another massive mistake I made. It isn’t inappropriate to ask where the money is coming from. A healthy business partnership is rooted in full transparency. That doesn’t mean you owe your business partner intimate details about your life, but anything that affects the project should always be discussed as honestly as possible. Come to find out, my co-partner’s roommate funded their entire half, and their lover funded other items needed until they broke up. Every time we were faced with new expense in post-production, my co-partner would always joke, “Guess I’ll have to ask [either roommate, lover, etc.] for more money,” as if it was so hilarious and adorable to be financially dependent on the people in your life. I navigated these issues as peacefully as I could for the sake of the project, and continuously gave my partner the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe they’re making these decisions because they’re new at this,” I tried to convince myself. Deep down I knew something didn’t feel right about this situation.
By the time we started submitting to festivals, I hoped things would turn around. We were both certain this project would take off. Once the influx of rejection letters from festivals came in, I was devastated. Things were starting to look grim until we got into a notable festival. At the orientation meeting, the executive director of the film festival made it clear that most of the promotional opportunities they provided were specifically for the director because that’s what their festival focuses on. One opportunity was a filmed interview the festival provided, but it was only for the director, unless there were two directors, and one person per interview. While I had already told my partner I would share these opportunities with them if we were to be accepted into the film festival, it was evident that my co-partner was still livid hearing this information at the meeting. I immediately tried to reassure my co-partner I would still split these opportunities with them and ask the festival if we could do the interview together. “Good because if I don’t get to do my interview I’ll be crushed,” my co-partner seethed through gritted teeth. I found this statement odd considering the executive director just stated this interview was never theirs to begin with. I tried to convince myself that maybe my co-partner’s statement came out wrong, or I was being paranoid. I asked the film festival if I could share my interview with my co-partner, and they approved. I figured there wouldn’t be any issues since I planned to share the opportunities I was awarded, and everything would be fine. It was all downhill from there.
The film festival encouraged us to either hire a PR person to promote the film or contact journalists ourselves. We couldn’t afford an expensive PR person. Since I was responsible for creating promotional content for the film (trailers, behind the scenes content, promotional slides for social media, making sure the film festival properly received all the required assets, etc.), my co-partner agreed to contact journalists to get word out about the film and create a 30-second promotional video using a song that was licensed to the film. In the first draft of the email my co-partner was going to send to a journalist, I wasn’t mentioned whatsoever; though they acknowledged in the email they were co-partners in a collaboration. I thought this was odd, but I tried to convince myself my co-partner didn’t mean anything by it. I mentioned to be sure to include me in all future emails, which my co-partner agreed to. Immediately after the orientation meeting, I got really sick. While I was sick, I had so many deadlines for school and work that I forced myself to work through it, causing my sickness and recovery time to drag on. Meanwhile, I still created promotional content for the film and promoted it online since we had a limited window of time before the festival. After being sick for two weeks, I reached out to my co-partner to see if they had come up with a list of journalists to contact. They hadn’t, once again dropping the ball on one of the few tasks they agreed to do. They decided they wanted to hire a PR person instead because their friend could give us a good deal. I told them we could set up a meeting with the PR person to discuss it, but they still needed to contact journalists in the meantime like they agreed to do. In the second email to another journalist my co-partner drafted, I was once again excluded from being mentioned. I gently reminded my co-partner I need to be included in all promotional emails as this is a partnership. I didn’t mention it to them at the time, but it’s not only rude to not introduce your co-partner in a collaboration, but it also looks unprofessional and ridiculous to only introduce yourself when you’ve acknowledged you’re in a collaborative effort. They usually CC’d me on emails they sent out, but they noticeably didn’t on these emails to journalists.
The meeting with the PR contact was an absolute nightmare. Not only was the PR agent rude and arrogant, but they had no experience promoting films at film festivals and didn’t care to learn. I’m willing to take a chance on someone, but I expect a professional we’re hiring to be open and receptive to information I’m sharing directly from the executive director of the film festival instead of having a chip on their shoulder. My co-partner put me on the spot during the meeting by saying they’re ready to hire this PR person immediately, but I told them I needed time to think about it. I decided to try it since the PR person was giving us a decent deal, but I knew in my heart it was a mistake. My co-partner contacted me about a week later, excitedly asking me for approval on the first draft of what was supposed to be the press release for our film. A press release for a film is supposed to ideally be less than a page that gives general information about the plot of the film and a little blurb about the people who worked on it. Instead, it was a two-page article solely about my co-partner that gave them credit for everything, except being the director. I was briefly mentioned once in the entire press release. I finally realized it was time to face the truth: my co-partner was not only inconsiderate, but also desperate to sideline me in our collaboration to make themselves the sole focus. I finally confronted them about the prior emails and told them this wasn’t acceptable going forward. “They’re only drafts”, my co-partner claimed, as if I were being unreasonable for wanting to be properly credited. The PR person tried to take the blame, explaining they thought my co-partner was the focus since they were the paying client, inadvertently revealing my co-partner never mentioned to them that I paid for half. The PR mess got worse and worse. Everything from proper titles to the most insignificant details became an issue that dragged on for days when time was ticking to get the press release out in time before the festival. The PR agent didn’t even end up delivering any results. A complete waste of money, as I knew it would be.
I was growing concerned about the interview for the film festival since my co-partner had become extremely competitive and shown their true colors. I was in the process of drafting an email saying I hoped we could work out our issues before the interview. I felt like the interview with both of us would ultimately be best for the film. But if it was going to be tension-filled like the past month and a half had gone, I wasn’t going to share it with them. I felt guilty even drafting this letter. This project started out so great. I never envisioned things going in this direction. While revising the email, my co-partner contacted me about a promotional clip with the song they agreed to complete weeks ago but delivered two days before the festival. For some reason, my co-partner decided to reveal the entire ending of the film in this clip. The clip only needed to be 30 seconds with music and no dialog, like we originally discussed. There was no reason to include the entire ending of a film that we were trying to sell. It’s also common knowledge and industry standard to not reveal the ending of a film before its released because we’re trying to get audiences to watch it. It’s also common sense. Additionally, most film festivals have it in their fine print to not have the film online anywhere during the festival run in any capacity. I informed my co-partner I wasn’t comfortable releasing the clip with the ending revealed. My co-partner doubled down, asking if I was sure I was truly uncomfortable. I assured them I’d rather not release it. The next day, before I was going to send the email to my co-partner, I got a text from them saying, despite the fact I was uncomfortable sharing the ending of our film in this clip, they were going to release it anyway because they spoke with their “industry sources” about it. That was the final straw for me. I realized that not only was it going to be a tension-filled interview if we filmed it together, but I deserved better than to share this opportunity with someone who clearly doesn’t have any respect or consideration for me. I informed them that I no longer felt comfortable sharing the interview with them and didn’t appreciate the way I had been treated over the past month and a half. Still, I wanted the festival to be successful for both of us to help our careers progress, and I hoped we could end this project peacefully. “Message received,” was their only response. The festival was mostly fine, and our film got a good reception. I knew things were rocky between us, but I hoped we could move past it to get the film sold.
Immediately after the festival, my co-partner went on their podcast making thinly veiled accusations that I did this entire project to exploit them for my own gain, as well as exploiting members of the LGBTQIA+ community. They also presented a false narrative about how they came up with this project and I seized it from them. Naturally, they conveniently left out a substantial number of details about how our partnership went sour due to their behavior. As if the disappointment of the film festival circuit wasn’t enough to deal with, I now had to deal with my co-partner trying to ruin my reputation over an interview the film festival made clear was only for the director they were not entitled to whatsoever. Exploitation usually works with one person doing all the work and someone else taking all the credit. Seeing how I did substantially more work than anyone else on the project for almost two years and wound up paying more of the budget than we initially agreed to, accusing me of being an exploiter is quite a stretch. I am by no means a perfect person and I’m sure there are things I could’ve handled differently. However, twisting the truth and presenting a false narrative is flat-out malicious. After the podcast, I once again found myself doing all the work to find a distribution deal while my co-partner was nowhere to be found. Other various accusations and twisted truths occurred after the podcast during confrontations when I finally found some opportunities to get a distribution deal for the film, including accusing me of being financially dependent on their roommate for the project, which absolutely never happened. I agreed to let their roommate be a co-producer on the project at the beginning of the project because they were a part of my co-partner’s personal LLC. Their roommate didn’t do any actual co-producing work as they worked a full-time job while my co-partner and I developed this project on our own, nor does this roommate have any background in film development or producing. I never even contacted their roommate the entire duration of this project about anything because they weren’t needed. When I reminded my co-partner that not all of us are financially dependent on the people in our lives to take care of our business, it was deemed “abuse” and “disrespect”. After I told my co-partner I would only be available through email or text following the podcast so there’s a record of everything said between us, my co-partner kept trying to drag their roommate into the situation to fight their battles for them, as if this situation couldn’t be any more ridiculously childish. This nightmare continued to drag on and on without a resolution in sight. Suffice it to say, this project I was so proud of became one of the most soul-crushing experiences of my entire life.
How did you rebound and recover after that? What did you learn from this whole episode? What advice would you give to others based on that story?
I think the first thing you must do when you experience any sort of heartache is take accountability for the role you played in your own suffering. While my co-partner’s behavior was appalling, I played my own part in this as well. I was too casual about this whole project. I didn’t protect myself the way I should have; both contractually speaking, and in terms of recognizing the signs. I have a long history of seeing red flags in people and painting them green. The hardest part of recovering from this experience was the anger and shame I felt towards myself for finding myself in this ridiculous situation to begin with. While I should have recognized the signs better, I also had to forgive myself and accept that I took a chance on someone, and it didn’t work out. The most obvious lesson from this experience is: be careful who you do business with. I can honestly say my “benefit of the doubt” days are over. That’s not to say I can’t trust people, but this situation burned me so badly that trusting my instincts is now my top priority. This experience made me realize that I’d been too cavalier about the contractual elements of this project because, on a deep subconscious level, I didn’t take myself seriously. I still didn’t feel like a “real filmmaker” despite all these years of developing content on my own and receiving recognition for my work. It was time to properly deal with my imposter syndrome.
This situation also renewed my faith that the truth always comes to light. I really struggled with how to best address my co-partner’s allegations because I have extensive receipts and documentation to prove my side of the story and expose every single lie that was told about me on their podcast. I’m the wrong person to make up lies about. Still, this situation needed to be handled delicately. I’m getting better at not immediately reacting to nonsense. I’m glad I didn’t make any impulsive moves because I finally got the opportunity to share my truth when I was contacted to do this article by the publication. Also, a dear mentor of mine who guided me through this drama, reminded me that my work speaks for itself. I was an established filmmaker receiving recognition for my body of work before I ever made the mistake of working with my co-partner, and I’ll be an established filmmaker long after while they’re stirring up drama with various people on their podcast because they’re desperate for content. I don’t need to exploit anyone to get ahead. My body of work that I directed, produced, wrote, and edited on my own is already getting me where I want to go in life.
I think this experience opened up something bigger in me on a philosophical level. I’ve spent so much of my life believing I can only be happy if I’m successful as a filmmaker and have a big “breakout” success. I think we’re all conditioned to believe we have to either invest all our energy in one singular thing to bring us happiness, whether it’s a career, or a relationship, or money, etc. I don’t remember my life without feeling this way, and I’ve felt this way since I was a child. This failure helped me grasp how unhealthy it is to live this way and be more open to new ideologies, or I’m going to live a miserable life. On a deep subconscious level, I think there’s a part of me that craves disappointment because it’s the only time in my life where I feel completely present. I’ve spent my entire life living in the future because I think it will justify the pain of my past or prevent me from experiencing more pain. I can’t invest all my hopes and happiness in one single avenue. Life isn’t about just one thing. It’s time to open myself up to new experiences and adventures.
This experience also helped me recognize I’ve reached the end of the road for my era of independently self-producing low-budget projects. Part of facing my issues with imposter syndrome made me realize it’s time to level up and only work with people who, at minimum, have the same education and experience that I do when it comes to filmmaking. I spent my career focusing on independently producing content because, at the time at least, I didn’t feel like I was qualified to work with established studios or would be rejected by them. I can attest that that was probably true starting out, but I can say after all I’ve accomplished independently, I’m definitely qualified now, especially since I finished my film degree. Recovering from this situation, I had to accept the fact that I chose to get into business with someone who didn’t have the level of experience I did. I didn’t expect them to know everything that I’d learned in my years of self-producing projects. However, I expected them to trust my knowledge instead of engaging in competitive power plays because they’re too insecure to admit we don’t have the level of experience when it comes to filmmaking. I’m happy to say, since I accepted this truth, my most recent project was produced by a legitimate production team with actual departments (costumes, props, etc.) and experienced producers. I can’t go back to self-producing projects on my own the way I have my entire career after I have experienced what filmmaking really requires in order to create the best content possible. I’m also happy to say every single person that worked on the film was not only incredibly professional and committed but took pride in the roles they were assigned instead of desperately trying to take credit for other people’s work. I look forward to creating more films in the future with the proper resources, proper financing, and industry professionals.
Overall, I guess what I learned is, when you let go of the things in your life that no longer work, you make way for the right opportunities to come along.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that everyone can take to become free from the fear of failure”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Learn to live with uncertainty. This is by far one of the hardest concepts to master, and I am nowhere near mastering it. However, through repeated failures, I’m becoming more comfortable with living with uncertainty because the idea of constantly worrying about the uncertainties of life is too exhausting to even consider. The only guarantee in life is that nothing is certain. The sooner you accept this, the easier life gets.
- Live without expectations. Along with learning to live with uncertainty, it’s better to live life without expectations. That doesn’t mean you can’t have goals and aspirations. Ultimately, we pursue everything in life in hopes of a positive outcome. However, living without expectations opens you up to infinite possibilities. Again, this is easier said than done, but I’ve learned it’s worth it.
- Nobody owes you anything. This one is a hard pill to swallow. We are born into this world on our own, and we leave this world the same way. This knowledge can seem depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, you can only rely on yourself to create a life you’re happy with. That doesn’t mean you can’t invest in relationships with people, but everyone has their own journey in life. Sometimes it can be disappointing when someone goes on a different path, but it’s not always personal. Even when people try to cause harm, it’s not always about you. It’s usually a reflection of their own pain they’re taking out on you. Sometimes people go their own way, and they have every right to. Even when people make promises they fail to keep, just be as true to your word as you can, be as loyal as you can without compromising your integrity and expect nothing else. You are enough. Also, I can testify that all the people who have wronged me all eventually came back seeking validation from me in some form or another. Though they weren’t always offering an apology, it was still gratifying.
- When you’re stripped down to nothing, there’s nothing left to fear. When everything falls apart, it seems like it’s the end of the world. But there’s a liberation that comes with losing everything. To quote a line from Fight Club, “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” Destruction itself is a form of creation.
- Everything is perception. As Rabindranth Tagore once said, “If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.” I’ve also found that most of the failures I’ve experienced or opportunities I was rejected from were leading me to something better. Though it’s important to process the pain of disappointment, it’s important to recognize the opportunity that comes along with failure. Redefining “failure” can help you turn disappointment into something valuable.
The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” Based on your experience, have you found this quote to be true? What do you think Aristotle really meant?
While I appreciate the sentiment of Aristotle’s quote, I find that there are many ways to succeed as well. Looking back, I can honestly say none of my “failures” were really failures; they were redirections that led me closer to the truth of what I was looking for to begin with. I think any failure can be redefined as a success, if you want to truly make it a valuable experience. Success is in the eye of the beholder.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d like to inspire a movement that abolishes capitalism. All the world’s major problems (discrimination, exploitation, wealth inequality, etc.) meet at an intersection that can be traced back to being ruled by capitalist ideology. We’re conditioned to believe that money, success, fame, and status are life’s biggest achievements. Abolishing capitalism would create a movement that makes us redefine our entire way of life. We’ll have to do away with the toxic systems that are ruining our world and create new systems. Capitalism teaches us that everything in life is about maximizing profits, individualism, and that life is a race to stay ahead. There are more than enough resources in the world to take care of everybody, but the powers that be try their hardest to convince us otherwise. To truly live in an equal society that works for everyone, we must abolish capitalism.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Dolly Parton, no explanation needed.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Stay tuned for updates on my website at www.jrvisionfilms.com or follow me on Instagram and Twitter @JRVISIONFILMS.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.